Fandom: Film - The Losers
Pairing: Jensen/Cougar (background Clay/Roque pre-slash and Pooch/Jolene)
Rating: 12/15, for allusions to nasty situations that don't involve any of our boys
Word Count: 4,065 - according to Word
Disclaimer: Not mine...damnit!
Author's Notes: A follow-up to Normality Is Such An Over-Rated Word and Piece By Piece to Make a Whole. I'm just gonna go ahead and blame zortified for the whole darn thing ^_~
Third in the Non-Human 'verse - I was asked for kitten!Cougar being all unimpressed with a certain plan of Jensen's...I have delivered. This is kitten!Cougar with his breakfast and this is kitten!Cougar stalking Jensen's bootlaces.
Movie-verse, set pre-movie. Comments and con.crit welcomed.
Summary: This was not in the job description. Also, a de-aged Cougar alternately turning into a kitten and getting chocolate all over his face may cause ovaries to explode. Roque is not impressed with this shit. Clay hates his team. Pooch is getting broody. Jensen...well. Jensen's just Jensen. 'Nuff said.
There are a great many ‘talented’ people in the world. Well, sort of. About 0.1%, actually, but that’s still about seven million people on the face of the planet. That’s a hell of a lot, really, even considering that most of them are like Jensen’s sister Sammy with their talents dampened down so far that the various governments around the world can’t really even be bothered to intimidate them into behaving.
Still, even given that there’s roughly seven million mostly-different talents in the world, Jensen’s still sort of shocked that there’s actually someone out there who can…what? ‘Regress’ is maybe the right word for it. Whatever it is, it makes people shrink and sort of…de-age. It’s like he’s living in a fuckin’ fantasy book sometimes. And, yeah, Jensen’s well aware of the irony there. It’s just…Jensen’s having a hard time meshing up the whole regressing thing (which, okay, he can sort of get if he goes back over all the sci-fi episodes he’s ever watched ever) and his boyfriend. Meshing, that is, in that Jensen’s holding a five-year-old-ish Hispanic boy who’s curled up in his lap and sucking his thumb with his eyes tight shut while Pooch drives to the nearest safe-house through the dark as smoothly and quietly as possible.
There’d been a kitten earlier, after the flash of purple, and then it had become a little naked boy that’s now wrapped in the spare shirt that Jensen keeps in his backpack for post-transformation Cougar.
The guy that had been the cause said purple flash had not exactly been the informant-slash-defector the Losers had been sent to retrieve and he’d been positively eager to spill the beans when Clay had threatened to turn Roque loose. (Roque had been playing with his third favourite knife by that point with a fervent glint in his eye. He’d pouted when Clay ordered him to back down.)
Apparently the guy had told Clay that it was temporary…if Cougar wanted it to be. Jensen hadn’t really been listening because he’d had a crying cougar kitten trying to climb his Army-issued pants with needle-sharp claws at the time. It had kinda been an attention-grabber.
That had been over half an hour ago. Now they’re in the Humvee that Pooch ‘liberated’ and there’s more space than usual in the backseat because there’s no one in the middle where Cougar usually sits and, occasionally, acts as a barricade between Jensen and Roque when Jensen’s babble winds Roque up just a little too far.
Now there’s a huge space that might as well be the Grand Canyon and Jensen hasn’t said a word since they got into the Humvee. His fingers are itching for one or both of the laptops that he brought with him for the mission but even if they were powered up, Jensen’s got his hands full and his mind’s just flat lining. He can’t seem to concentrate on anything, least of all the current crisis-du-jour.
The team sits in silence, interrupted only by the occasional muttered direction from Clay. Jensen stares out of the window at the passing scenery but, of course, it’s dark and all he can see is his own face reflected back at him and Roque watching him with something that, on anyone else, might be called concern.
On Jensen’s lap, Cougar whimpers a little around the thumb shoved into his mouth and Jensen’s hand lifts automatically to rest on Cougar’s short, dark curly hair, stroking a little until Cougar settles back into a deeper sleep. He’s only a little older, a little bigger, than Jessie is.
A hand joins his, brushing an errant curl back into place and Jensen looks over at Roque.
“You alright?” Roque asks so quietly that Jensen can barely hear him over the rumble of the engine and the low muttering of Clay and Pooch up front. Jensen can’t even summon up the energy to paste on his usual manic grin. He shrugs and Roque huffs a sigh in return. “Yeah.”
Jensen turns back to look out the window, trying not to think about how his heart had seemed to stop when Xiao Xin (not Xiao Ping, as it turned out – Army intelligence, Jensen’s ass) had flung out an instinctive hand to ward off the full-grown cougar that had been leaping at him to bring him down. Which, okay, instinctive and all, but that doesn’t help Jensen right now, does it?
When they get to the safe house, Jensen tries to put Cougar down on one of the beds but Cougs clings on even tighter and half-wakes up, whining a questioning complaint. So, instead, Jensen finds himself lying on top of the bed and curving protectively around Cougar’s tiny form and the others gather around until Clay orders Roque and Pooch to get some sleep and says he’ll take first watch. Just as well, really, because Jensen has a feeling that the guys were about to break out the ‘awwwwws’…and Cougar needs his sleep if tiny-Cougs is anything like Jessie.
(Besides, mushy Pooch and Roque is just…creepy.)
“Pooch?” Jensen asks once Roque’s started snoring and Cougar’s settled back down into sleep.
“What if…Xiao Xin said that it’s Cougar’s choice, right?”
“Well, what if…”
“He doesn’t want to?” Pooch finishes when Jensen can’t quite manage to. “Don’t know. I guess we’ll figure out something when it comes to that. If it comes to that.”
Jensen and Pooch lapse into silence until Jensen says, with a little of his usual humour;
“He is kinda adorable, though, isn’t he?”
“We could, maybe, take pictures,” Pooch says. “You know, for…official documentation purposes.”
“And by ‘official documentation purposes’, you mean…”
“Blackmail, yes,” Pooch says, sounding far too innocent.
“And that right there’s a cunning plan,” Jensen smirks a little, putting on an atrocious British accent. He yawns.
“Go to sleep, Jensen,” Pooch says kindly.
“You’re gonna be a good dad one day,” Jensen murmurs sleepily. Beside him, Cougar sighs a little in his sleep, as if in agreement.
Pooch doesn’t answer and Jensen’s asleep in seconds, his light breathing mixing with Roque’s louder snores. Pooch stays awake, staring up at the ceiling in the dark. He’d never thought about it in more than an abstract sort of way, but…yeah. Him and Jolene and one, maybe two, little rugrats for his momma to spoil. Maybe a boy and a girl; a mini-Jolene and a mini-him. That could be nice.
He gets to sleep eventually, sometime after Roque replaces Clay on watch, but his dreams that night are of something a little happier than his usual ones.
When oh-six-hundred rolls around, Cougar still hasn’t changed back and so Jensen wakes up to big, dark, solemn eyes staring at him.
“I’m small,” Cougar says, like Jensen should have fixed it already. He sounds disgruntled and annoyed and pretty much like he does every morning, even if his voice is slightly higher-pitched than usual.
“Yeah,” Jensen says, stretching. “About that…”
“And I’m hungry,” Cougar says. “I want something with lots of sugar. Possibly chocolate flavoured.”
Jensen stares at him and Cougar stares back.
“Ooookay,” Jensen mutters, drawing it out. “That’s…you hate sugary things.”
“I want churros y chocolate,” Cougar says. He sounds a little petulant. Any moment now, he’s going to start, like, pouting or something, Jensen just knows it.
“Of course you do. You know, Jessie would have Fruit Loops every morning if her mom’d let her. Thing is,” Jensen goes on, swinging his legs over as Cougar scrambles to stay on the bed, “we might not have anything like that, being as how we’re stuck in the middle of rural China and we’ll be lucky if there’s any food at all…’cept crappy MREs, ‘course.”
Over on the other side of the room, Clay and Roque are sleeping facing each other like two pre-teen girls at a sleepover that fell asleep whispering to each other. And that is a thought that Jensen’s going to bury as far down in the back of his mind as he can so that Clay, even with the full extent of his talent, won’t be able to find it. He’s especially not going to think about the fact that Pooch left his bed empty when he must have got up to replace Roque on watch earlier and Roque could easily have bedded down there instead of less than arm’s length away from Clay. Okay, it wouldn’t have been that much more comfortable, but at least he would have had more room to himself. It’s like thinking about your parents having…well. Thinking about them being within arm’s length of each other.
Jensen looks to Cougar to share the half-funny, half-traumatising thought but the whispered words die on his lips when he gets a vivid and oh-so-up close reminder that Cougar might still be twenty-eight, at least in his mind, but he still looks like a five-year-old. And speculating on any personal life that their CO may or may not be sharing with his 2iC with teeny-tiny Cougar with his wittle hands and his wittle button nose is just wrong.
Jake Jensen might be a badass soldier, but he still has morals, damnit.
“Right, yes, breakfast,” Jensen mutters, standing up and reaching to swing Cougar up into his arms before he’s even thought about it.
Cougar, apparently, is handling this whole thing a lot more calmly than Jensen is, but then he’s always a lot more calm than Jensen is. He settles on Jensen’s hip and grips at Jensen’s T-shirt with two tiny fists as Jensen leaves what could charitably be called the bedroom – but only because there’s things resembling beds in it – and heads for the kitchen area. It must be the kitchen – there’s a cupboard, a sink with two rusty-looking taps and a battered gas oven. Pooch, amazing person of amazingness that he is, already has coffee waiting.
“I love you,” Jensen says fervently, inhaling the scent of the shitty instant coffee that they carry with them in their packs. Pooch grins at him and then laughs when one of those deceptively tiny fists looses its hold on Jensen’s clothes and bops him right smack on his head. “Ow!”
Cougar’s pouting when Jensen looks and in the background, Pooch isn’t making any attempt to keep his laughter to himself.
“Of course,” Jensen says, mentally flailing a little for the quickest diffusing anything that he can think of, “I love you more…Christ. No offence, Cougs, but can you please stop it with the pout? Pretty please? It’s disturbing on so many levels.”
He squeezes his eyes tightly shut in an over-dramatic display of avoidance and so misses Cougar and Pooch exchanging a grin. All in all, though, and considering just how weird this whole situation is, Cougs is adapting far better to suddenly being five again than could have been expected – although that might have something to do with the fact that his five-year-old mind doesn’t miss the sex like Jensen does…
Oh, wow. Bad mental place. Where’s the brain bleach when you need it?
When Clay and Roque emerge at six-thirty, kid-Cougar’s sitting cross-legged on Jensen’s lap with chocolate smeared all around his mouth. And all over his tiny hands and even, Clay suspects, in his hair. God only knows where he got the chocolate from, although Pooch is trying to look innocent and Pooch’s innocent look usually comes off as more…conspiratorial.
Jensen’s got both laptops open, his fingers waving about, tracing symbols in mid-air and his eyes are sheened over in white. His mouth’s moving a little as well, but this is usual and Cougar doesn’t seem bothered by it – although he never is. In fact, Cougar’s currently preoccupied with licking the melted chocolate off his fingers like it’s the most complicated thing he’s ever done. Pooch comes over to them as they stand and stare in the doorway, glancing back at Jensen and Cougar.
“We explained what Xiao Xin said to him,” Pooch says quietly.
“And he’s still…tiny, because?” Clay asks. Pooch shrugs.
“Don’t know. He just doesn’t…I don’t think it’s occurred to him to care about it.”
Roque rolls his eyes and pushes past, heading for the coffee.
“Well, he’s going to have to be concerned,” Clay grumbles. “He remembers that we’ve got a mission to finish, right?”
They look over at the tiny kid swamped in a full-grown man’s shirt like it’s a poncho. As they watch, Cougar apparently finishes cleaning the chocolate off his fingers with his tongue and yawns, transforming as he does so that they’re left staring at a cougar kitten with its mouth open wide. He curls up in the puddled mess of his now unneeded shirt on Jensen’s lap. Now he’s a tiny, fluffy cougar kitten, big eyes shut and tiny belly distended slightly from whatever junk Pooch fed him for breakfast.
“…Camera?” Clay asks, but Pooch is already snapping away. Beyond Jensen and Cougar, Roque’s leaning against the battered cabinet and almost crooning at his cup of coffee. “How is this my life?” Clay mutters and he moves out of the doorway to lay claim to at least one cup of the shitty instant coffee before Roque absorbs it all like he’s breathing in plain air.
Apparently, Xiao Ping was getting caught and arrested by State agents while Clay and his team were fifty miles away getting Cougar regressed into a teeny-tiny cougar-kitten…which only means that now the Losers actually know where he is. Jensen’s pulled the co-ordinates for a prison that’s not on any official map and so they’ve got the beginnings of a plan starting to come together.
There’s only one real problem. Unfortunately, it’s a big one – they have to work around the fact that they haven’t got anyone on sniper detail. So it’s Pooch on transport, like usual, and Clay’s going in with Roque and Jensen and Jensen’s palm-held. It shouldn’t be too difficult – and it wouldn’t be, only Cougar’s starting to fuss about Jensen going in without him. Not, of course, that Jensen can’t proactively protect himself, even when in a tech daze. (Clay vividly remembers the whole thing with the Taliban splinter group. He even more vividly wishes that he didn’t remember it.) It’s just that Cougar’s a suspicious, paranoid and overly protective bastard at the best of times and, currently, those quirky little personality traits of his are manifesting themselves as Cougar getting…whiny and clingy in the way of five-year-olds everywhere.
For cryin’ out loud. This is why Clay tries to not get involved in his team’s personal life any more than he has to.
Also, it’s giving Clay a headache.
Eventually, Pooch takes pity on him and says he can swap with Jensen. After all, it won’t be the first time, although usually it’s because Pooch is unconscious or he’s got a concussion. Either way, it still means that they’ll be working with a kid involved because Cougs is showing no signs of wanting to grow up (again) any time soon and they’ll need to get out of the country asap after retrieving Xiao Ping and probably won’t have time to retrieve Cougar from wherever they stash him.
If this gets out among the other special ops teams, Clay will never live it down.
Against all probability, the mission concludes without a hitch. Cougar’s perched in Jensen’s front pocket, tiny ears twitching as he follows the conversation around him with big eyes. If Xiao Ping’s weirded out by the fact that there’s a ball of fluff and fur masquerading as a kitten, he doesn’t show it. He’s probably just – well. Roque found him in a cell that had a few…extra features and Xiao Ping had been bleeding and bruised by the time Roque got there.
Roque disapproves of torture when he’s not the one doing it and his mouth had been pressed in a firm, straight line when he’s ushered Xiao Ping back to where Clay and Pooch had been standing guard at the end of the darkened corridor.
As the Humvee bounces over the bumps in the dirt road, Cougar scrambles out of Jensen’s pocket and somehow makes it into the backseat, his tiny paws scrabbling over the cheap material covering the seats until he gets to where Xiao Ping’s sitting blank-eyed between Pooch and Roque. He balances on Roque’s knee and reaches out one tiny paw – nearly tumbling to the floor before Roque holds him back with one surprisingly gentle hand. Xiao Ping doesn’t look, still staring straight ahead, but he lifts a hand that only, to his credit, shakes a little and he scritches behind Cougar’s ears. Roque shifts his hand a little, holding Cougar out a little further, and he sighs and wishes that Clay had let him play a little longer with the two men he’d found in Xiao Ping’s cell.
They hitch a lift on a military transport and hand Xiao Ping over to the authorities at the base in Okinawa – he’ll be taken off and debriefed and, eventually, reunited with his wife and kids in California. Hopefully. The team head off to their temporary quarters, Cougs riding perched on Jensen’s shoulder like some kind of mascot.
Of course, it’s too much to hope that Jensen’s attack of sanity would actually last. Clay enters the team billet two days later and finds Jensen kneeling on the floor by his bunk. Cougar’s transformed and curled up asleep on top of the blankets in a nest that someone’s make out of Roque’s favourite T-shirt. It’s cute – Jensen’s resting his chin on his folded arms on top of the bed with a strange, thoughtful look on his face and that is what creeps Clay out. A thoughtful Jensen usually precedes complete and utter chaos.
As Clay watches, Jensen shifts and reaches out to stroke one finger over the soft fur at the back of the kitten’s head. Cougar stretches out in his sleep, his paws almost batting at Jensen’s finger, and then he settles again, lying on his back and showing his round, furry belly. Jensen nearly melts at the sight and Clay’s very careful to stay silent as he backs away. He goes over and over it for the next hour but surely Jensen…not even Jensen would think…would he?
So, really, in retrospect, Clay should have seen it coming.
He never does see it coming, though, which is why Clay thinks he can reasonably be legitimately shocked when Jensen flips on the lights at oh-dark-hundred, well after Clay made him put his laptops away and turn the damned lights off.
“Eureka!” Jensen shouts – because he’s a complete fucking geek sometimes.
Roque jumps and falls off his bunk to the floor with a yelped “fuck!” and Pooch muffles a yell of frustration and presses a pillow over his face to block out the light. Clay rolls his eyes and sits up, blinking sleep out of his eyes…but at least he’s making the effort because if one of them doesn’t pay attention to Jensen then they’ll never get to go back to sleep.
Cougar was human-shaped when he fell asleep earlier but now he’s a kitten that’s peering sleepily at Clay as Jensen holds him out, all four paws dangling as he’s held in mid-air.
“Jensen…” Clay starts, but Jensen’s on a roll.
“Cougar and I are gonna have kids!” Jensen says, beaming ear to ear. “Wait…would that be kittens?. Kit-kids?”
“That’s sick,” Roque mutters, getting back up and sitting on his bunk. Jensen rolls his eyes.
“Well, not right now, obviously. Weirdo. When he’s all big again.”
“Jensen, that’s…well, fuckin’ insane,” Roque continues, glaring at Jensen. Clay’s still trying to get past the whole ‘Cougar + Jensen = kittens’. “Neither of ya are female, just in case you’ve forgotten that tiny detail.”
Jensen holds Cougar out at Roque. Cougar doesn’t look impressed…in so much as a kitten, even a cougar one, can look unimpressed which is, really, rather a lot.
“Sammy!” Jensen says. He looks a little manic and Clay thinks that if Cougar wasn’t taking refuge from this insane conversation in baby-cougar form rather than human then he’d be rolling his eyes. As it is, he’s making a truly admirable attempt at it…while licking his nose with his tongue. Jensen looks around at their blank faces – even Pooch has given up on sleep now – and he sighs like it should be perfectly obvious. “We get Sammy to be the surrogate. Get Cougs’ little swimmers and, y’know, implant them. Then they’ll be half-Mexican awesome-osity and half Jensen-genes. It’s like the best of both worlds!”
Clay blinks. Somewhere behind the departing haze of sleep, his brain’s beginning to catch up…
“You’re a fuckin’ moron, Jense,” Pooch says, looking far too awake.
…because if the kids…kittens…whatever, are half Cougar…
Cougar mewls a little plaintively and Jensen brings his arms in so he can cuddle Cougar against him while he tries to bring Roque and Pooch around to his way of thinking.
…and half Jensen…tiny, dark-eyed and tousle-haired moppets running about and hacking into the NSA and the CIA before they’re ten…
“And, right, Mama Alvarez’ll totally be on board ‘cause she wants grandchildren, right? And Maria’s concentrating on her career…”
…and Clay can see his future as clear as day. His hair’ll be completely white from the stress before he’s fifty…if it doesn’t all fall out first. He wishes he’d never woken up when Jensen started being all Jensen-y.
“…so, like, nine months to a year, allowing for a couple mis-starts, okay, and babies. Cougs-Jensen babies!”
Clay, because clearly he’s masochistic to some degree (evidence – every single woman he’s ever dated ever), goes into Cougar’s mind. He pushes gently past the fading dream of chasing moths in the dark of his parents’ backyard with a pale-furred, blue-eyed kitten bouncing at his side that sort of reminds Clay a little of Jensen… And back there, Cougar’s meowing and hissing and telling Clay that he needs to work on getting Cougar changed back into an adult right the fuck now before Jensen gets it into his head to actually call Mama Alvarez and inform her that she’s going to be a grandmother in nine months to a year.
(Cougar’s also wondering if there’s going to be any sort of fish available at breakfast in the mess and whether, if he’s quick enough, he’ll be able to catch the mouse that he can hear scrabbling about in the walls.)
“It’s your choice,” Clay silently reminds his sergeant and that little tail lashes with indignation.
“You don’t think I’ve tried to?!”
“Obviously not hard enough…” Clay starts to say, but the little cougar squeezes it’s – his – eyes shut and goes rigid in Jensen’s hold. Cougar sneezes and Clay blinks. When he opens his eyes again, Jensen’s got his arms around a very naked, very grown up (and thankfully human) Carlos Alvarez.
“Oh, it’s way too early for this shit,” Roque grumbles, falling back onto his pillow and pulling his blanket up and over his head.
Jensen’s trying to enthusiastically explore Cougar’s tonsils with his tongue and Pooch throws a pillow at them.
“Jensen, fuck off to bed and turn the damn lights out!”
Jensen grins at them, one hand carding through Cougar’s hair over and over like he’s scared to let go.
“Aww, you’re just all jealous,” he says, practically bouncing where he’s standing. Cougar has a long-suffering expression pasted on, but there’s this edge of sheer happiness in there as well. “After all, not everyone can get their very own Cougar.”
“Jensen, shut up,” Roque grumbles from under his blanket shield.
Cougar looks at Clay and rolls his eyes. Clay smirks.
“You’re the one who decided to fall in love with him,” he silently reminds Cougar and Cougar wrinkles his nose a little, like he’s debating whether or not to sneeze in utter feline disgust at his commanding officer. He grabs Jensen by the wrist and hauls the kid back to the bunk, Jensen babbling the whole way about how cute their kids would be and how he totally wasn’t joking about enlisting Sammy’s help or telling Mama Alvarez. Although, to be fair, he is at least trying to be quiet about it in deference to the fact that they all know that Roque keeps a twelve-inch serrated knife under his pillow.
Clay rolls over and closes his eyes…and hopes he can get back to sleep before Jensen decides to welcome Cougar home properly.
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